Northern Lights Seen in the Mid-Atlantic

Northern Lights over Potomac

northern lights w virginia

People across the country reported seeing strange lights in the sky last night.

A resident in Martinsburg, West Virginia, took the photo above - of an aurora borealis, also called the Northern Lights.  Residents closer by in Potomac, Maryland also reported seeing the phenomenon.

Fishermen, gold miners, and others who live close to the Artic Circle see the aurora borealis regularly, but a sighting this far south is extremely rare.

The aurora borealis occurs when electrically charged particles released by the sun's solar flares blast across space and interact with the Earth's geomagnetic field.

It was visible Monday night because of an especially powerful solar flare.

The extraordinary activity on the sun is still active, but News4's Tom Kierein says that it's impossible to predict whether we'll have another sighting Tuesday night.  A clear sky and waning moon helped make the aurora borealis more visible.

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